My name is Beverly Jardine Santos. I grew up in a Christian home, the eldest of 5 children. Growing up, I was exposed to bible studies, ministries, outreaches and Christian music. I was even part of the kids’ choir and Sunday school. Everything looked perfectly okay, right? But to me, everything was just head knowledge.
When I was 4 years old, my sister and I were molested by a family member for about a year. That was the reason why my dad flew back from the States, left his job and his ministry. And because he blamed himself for what happened, he turned to drugs. When dad was lost, I became the man of the house. I supported my mom emotionally, took care of my siblings and managed the house while my mom was out. I felt I had to grow up faster than the others because I felt I had to be the leader. Because of this, I struggled with submitting to authority. I thought that I could manage everything by myself, even my own life. I started to rebel against my parents. I lied and disobeyed, over and over again. When I entered high school, cutting classes was already a habit. I started to drink, got involved in a grand fraternity and sorority and in boy-girl relationships. I shifted from one relationship to another, even having several relationships at the same time. I looked down on men so I manipul
ated them, toyed with them as if like they deserved to be treated without respect. My rebellion reached to a point that I even doubted God’s existence, questioned His authority and blamed Him for everything that’s happening to our lives. I spent time to research things that’ll disprove God and tried to find ways to contradict the faith that I acquired. In church, I strove to maintain a “good girl image” by serving in ministry, but outside of church, and I know in my heart, that I was a bad girl. I was afraid that my friends would think that I was not cool enough to hang out with them if I started acting like a Christian. I was a lukewarm Christian. I lived a double life.
In college, I went from bad to worse. This was the time that I lost my values, gave in to sexual immorality, partied more, experimented on some drugs, got into fights more often, started smoking and seldom went home. I did everything without my parents’ consent. I often listened to Satan’s voice as he told me something like this, “Don’t worry Bev, you still go to church every Sunday right? The Lord is just there, ready to forgive you. Say you’re sorry, but don’t fully surrender. If you repent now, you’ll miss the fun tomorrow. You will lose your cool friends! You’re still young! You still have time to repent.” Compromising, giving in to temptation and backsliding became a normal thing for me. Because I lived a life of disobedience, I began to experience the consequences of my choices. I got pregnant by one of my boyfriends. I did something that I never thought I could do. After realizing the weight of my sin, I turned to the Lord. I started to go back to chu
rch again. In a Sunday service, the Lord spoke to me. I heard a voice inside my head that I never heard in a long time. The voice said. “Anak, alam ko pagod ka na. Let go. Let Me carry you in My arms. Let me lead you.” I cried and cried. I felt that God was calling me back to Him. I was reminded of the verse in Matthew 11:28-30 which says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” From that day forward, I decided to pursue God.
I joined a singles retreat last June 2011 where I recommitted my life to Christ and got baptized. Everything wasn’t just head knowledge anymore. The Lord gave me strength to turn away from sin. He surrounded me with Christian friends who encouraged me and helped me to be more intimate with God. I looked forward to every Dgroup meeting and every singles fellowship.
At this time, God also started to test my faith and commitment to Him. In August 2011, the doctors discovered that I had stones in the duct of my gall bladder caused by my unhealthy lifestyle and vices. It had to be removed because it was already affecting my liver and kidneys. This condition now requires me to pursue a healthier lifestyle and yes, I am not allowed to smoke and heavily drink anymore. Then God took away my friends who were a bad influence to me. I wasn’t invited to gatherings and parties anymore because they knew that I was committed to the Lord already and I wasn’t “cool enough” to hang out, drink or smoke with them anymore. Next, God took away my job. I was tempted to ask the Lord why. Even tempted to turn away from Him and go back to my sinful ways. But because of my family and friends’ prayers, I continued to walk by faith and not by sight.
All my life I was trying to find peace and contentment by having a perfect family, perfect set of friends and a perfect relationship. But I was wrong. I only found real peace and contentment when I fully surrendered my life to our perfect God and daily pursued an intimate relationship with Him. Oh, and If you’re wondering what happened to my research about disproving God, obviously, I failed. God always finds a way to reveal Himself to me.
God also allowed me to serve in ministry again. From serving in the music ministry and children’s ministry in CCF Main, God lead me to now serve in CCF Alabang’s B1G South singles ministry. I am now part of the Marketing ministry and the Ushering team. One by one, I am also trying to reach out to my friends who need to know the Lord. I am now committed in attending a new Dgroup here in CCF Alabang. And by God’s grace, I already started leading a group of ladies of my own.
I’m still a work in progress. Every time I sin or I am caught in a trial, I make sure to keep growing in my intimacy with God. I thank the Lord for giving me a supportive family who never stopped praying for me and loving me unconditionally. I also thank Him for my dgroup and dear friends who continue to encourage me. And most of all, I thank the Lord God almighty, Jesus my Savior, for never giving up on me and saving me from my sins.
I am Bev Santos, a sinner saved by grace through faith alone, saying that it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me! Forever will be a Jesus zone! To God be all the glory!